Almost 18 months after its last public performance at the Welsh Regionals Championships 2020, Pontardulais Town Band was delighted to perform two concerts in August 2021 in the local area.
The first was a fantastic ‘Night at the Movies’ concert at The Clubhouse at Pontardulais Golf Club on August 14th as part of its summer series of concerts.
The second was a free ‘Music from the Movies’ concert held at Coed Bach Park in Pontardulais, on Bank Holiday Monday August 30th. The event saw an audience numbering in the hundreds with garden chairs in hand enjoy an afternoon picnic while being entertained by the band.
The past 18 months has been a difficult period for the band, as it has been for everyone, but despite being unable to carry out normal band activities, there has been a lot going on ‘behind the scenes’.
Though the band has been unable to perform in person since the start of the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic, the band has tried to embrace the lockdown trend of ‘virtual performances’ as a means of keeping its members engaged and trying to bring some welcome relief to its supporters in difficult times.
The first was our Virtual Annual Concert, compered by Band President Garry Owen, which featured performances recorded at previous Annual Concerts and footage and photos collated by current band member Jayne Kinnear.
Next was a video released on Remembrance Sunday, which again featured recordings, footage, photos and newspaper clippings collated by Jayne Kinnear. The video also included recorded performances of Pontarddulais Male Choir.
Christmas soon followed and saw the band release a series of videos daily in the run up to Christmas Day, showcasing recordings from previous Christmas Concerts, in addition to three new videos which had been created using recordings created at home by individual band members and combined to create a single ‘Virtual Perfomance’.
With the wonderful news of a COVID-19 vaccine having been created at the turn of the year, the band answered the call and made the bandroom available as a venue for vaccinations from February 2021. A huge thank you to the team at Tal-y-Bont Surgery for their hardwork in administering the vaccine to so many local residents, some of which included members of the band!
With so many brass bands around the country embracing the trend of virtual performances, the Cory Band and Kapitol hosted an Online Brass Band Championships, where Pontardulais Town Band competed in the 1st Section.
Having enjoyed the experience so much, the band entered Foden’s Band’s Online Whit Friday Championships a couple of months later, again competing in the 1st Section.
The band are grateful to have been awarded grants to facilitate some much needed bandroom improvements, which took place in the Spring. These included replacing the flooring, replacing the boiler and installing radiators, re-tarmacing the car park and fitting new gates.
The band are also fortunate to have been awarded grants to purchase gazebos, which allowed the band to rehearse outdoors when COVID-19 restrictions and guidance (and the weather!) allowed.
With the relaxation of some COVID-19 restrictions in May 2021, the band was finally able to re-commence indoor rehearsals, though not at the band room due to the size of venue needed to meet the minimum spacing required between players to conduct safe rehearsals. The band are grateful to have been allowed the use of Penygroes Memorial Hall for this purpose.